Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Didn't Like But Am Glad I Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week, we're talking about books we didn't actually enjoy but were nevertheless glad we've read. For me, this kind of reading generally means classics, because I do like bragging about getting through these (and honestly, many of them are better than you think before you actually crack them open). So here are ten that didn't do it for me but I appreciate having finished anyways.



Don Quixote: I know this is considered a delightful comedic classic, but I hate this kind of cringe comedy. For me, the "joke" played out quickly and then there were still hundreds of pages to struggle through and emphasis on the struggle.

Crime and Punishment: I thought I hated Russian literature until I read Tolstoy. It turned out I love Tolstoy, so I happily turned to Dostoevsky in the hopes that I would love him too. Nope. Just Tolstoy. I hated this book.

Hunger: I found this book on a list of under-rated classics, but the best thing about it was that it was short.

Gone With the Wind: The movie is an (admittedly problematic) fave, but the book? Scarlett O'Hara is a total grade-A asshole but Vivien Leigh makes it compelling on screen. I just rooted for the Scarlett in the book to get her comeuppance.

Of Mice and Men: This one is less on the braggy side and more on the pop-culture reference understanding side.

The Catcher in the Rye: This one even more on the pop-culture side. Why does popular culture think the world is so invested in the narratives of Sad Alienated Boys?

Heart of Darkness: Being able to drop a pretentious allusion to this Joseph Conrad classic is literally the only reward for reading it.

Into the Wild: I enjoy having read this so I can rant about how much I hate it to anyone who tries to tell me that Christopher McCandless was anything other than a dude who deserved exactly what he got.

The DaVinci Code: This was not a good book, for me, but it was a cultural phenomenon and I'm glad I read it at the same time everyone else was.

Butterfly Boy: This was a book club pick and while I really appreciated getting the perspective of a man who is both gay and Latino, because it's not a kind of voice I experience very often, I didn't actually like reading it.

9 comments:

  1. I've read three on this list and disliked-to-hated all three. The DaVinci Code premise was ok, but the writing was terrible; Gone with the Wind was ok back in high school (years and years ago) when I read it, but now I would probably go directly to hate for several reasons; and Into the Wild is the only Krakauer book I didn't like and I have read them all. I'm sorry Chris McCandless was so messed up, but you are correct about that boy--he deserved what he got.

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    1. Not that I don't enjoy the occasional book with not-great writing (I loved the Twilight series), but The DaVinci Code was not something I could deal with. I read Gone With The Wind after seeing the movie over and over and was so dismayed that the feisty spitfire I knew and loved was so obviously just a total jerk. I've heard the movie version of Into The Wild is good, but I just can't make myself watch it because I hated the book so much!

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  2. The Catcher in the Rye is on my list, too!! And I definitely agree with Steinbeck, but didn't include him because I didn't want to focus on anything I had to read for school. I haven't been interested in Don Quixote since seeing a community theater production of the musical based on it - The Man of La Mancha - and walking away completely horrified, so I'm glad to see my instincts are valid! :) Great list!

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    1. I could have put The Grapes of Wrath, but I appreciated Mice/Men more than Grapes in the long run. I think how much you enjoy awkward humor would predict how much you like Don Quixote...for me that's almost not at all so it was not for me.

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  3. I see some familiar books on this list! Lol I went for the classics, as well.

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    1. How many things are more satisfying than tossing off a reference to classic lit...or better yet, understanding one for the first time? I'm finishing up with Far From The Madding Crowd right now and suddenly understanding the inspiration for Katniss from The Hunger Games surname!

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  4. Urgh, Heart of Darkness was horrendous (or what I read of it anyway...) I love Scarlett though - I'd hate her in real life, but somehow she kept me onside in the book :)

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    1. If there was a point to Heart of Darkness, I surely didn't get it. I loved Scarlett in the movie, but in the book she was not for me. I wonder if I might have felt differently if I'd read the book before seeing the movie a million times, because I liked the movie so much that it made it hard for the book to measure up!

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  5. Haha - I'm the exact opposite of you on Gone With the Wind...loved the book, not so much the movie. And I think I'd like Tolstoy too...isn't he supposed to be the gossipy Russian?

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